Why it’s so good for you: The orange flesh that’s revealed when you crack open butternut squash “means that it contains lots of beta carotene, an antioxidant that the body converts to vitamin A,” says Lauri Wright, PhD, RDN, chair of the Center for Nutrition and Food Security at the University of North Florida. “Beta carotene is essential for maintaining vision, especially night vision, and it’s also important for keeping your immune system strong.”
Easy eating: Butternut squash can be tricky to cut. If you’re having trouble, score the skin, microwave for a few minutes, and let it cool. Then you can cut it into halves and bake it cut side down in a pan with a little water or oil. Afterward, just peel and chop it into cubes, mash it, or purée it to add to soups and sauces.